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More Teeter, Less Totter

June 27, 2014

Teeter Totter

Looking back to your childhood, you most likely can vividly recall the feelings of being on a teeter totter.  The enjoyment factor depended greatly on who was on the other side.  If they were lighter than you, you could propel your playmate with the full strength of your legs.  If they were heavier, you had to hold onto the bars with all your might as your entire body left the seat when you reached the top.  Either way, the energy spent and emotion expressed was greater than when both people were about equal.  However, if you were both about equal, you could go on seemingly forever.

Professionally and personally, just like on the teeter totter, the set-up we prefer varies from person to person.  Do you function best when there is an even flow or do you get bored when this goes on for too long?  Do you like to have more control over situations or feel the thrill of a wild ride?

The dictionary term of balance speaks of equal distribution.  Of course this is important when balancing a load for transport and the like.  When it comes to our lives, this equilibrium can be difficult to maintain for more than fleeting moments.  After all, we have dynamic minds and are living in dynamic environments.  We’re striving for more, being asked to do more, and situations arise that require us to absorb and adapt.  Hence, even the thought of balance can seem like a misnomer which leads to rejection of the concept.  If you have given up on the notion, and succumb to a reactive toleration of extreme unevenness, you are not alone.

Whereas that thought process is understandable, there are ways to evolve the way we think about professional and personal balance and improve its presence in our lives.  First, instead of thinking equal, be conscious of what a baseline of personal vs. professional balance looks like for you.  How many hours can you work each week in a sustainable way?  What percentage of your time is ideally set aside for personal use?

Now that you have your preferred baseline, you can better evaluate your threshold of imbalance.  Viage Partners puts imbalance into the following categories:  chosen, unavoidable and lingering.  Some will drain and challenge you, others will energize and expand you.  In all cases, your approach to the imbalance will impact your experience.

Forward Moving Tips:

A chosen imbalance is an event that you take on willingly.  Such as a new job/position/responsibilities, work challenge/strategic project, vacation, education, house project, baby/children, night life, etc.  If you find yourself in this situation…

  • Accept the imbalance for a finite amount of time
  • Set a time frame for completion or re-evaluation
  • Focus on the long term benefits to help get through the tough spots
  • Create small pockets of time for other important and enjoyable activities
  • Remember, this imbalance has been your choice

An unavoidable imbalance is one that you did not choose.  This could be extra work load, unexpected work travel, sick parent, household emergency, etc.  With these occurrences, keep in mind…

  • Although the duration may be unknown, there are steps you can take to minimize the impact
  • Negotiate with boss, siblings, significant other to share the load or to get help
  • Take a step back and look for other solutions to help ease your stress
  • Carve time out for other important and enjoyable activities

A lingering imbalance is a chosen or unavoidable imbalance that goes on past your expectations or tolerance.

  • Think about the ways that you might be propagating the imbalance
  • What have you assumed to be true that may not be true?
  • Determine what other options you have to change the situation
  • Realize that you always have a choice…always…even when it seems like you don’t

Whether your imbalance is chosen, unavoidable or lingering, remember that in all cases staying productive with your thoughts and actions can have a big impact on how you deal with and recover from imbalances.  If you think you are exhausted, you are more likely to be exhausted.  If you have convinced yourself there is no way out, you are less likely to find one.

What benefits have resulted from imbalances in your life? (comment below)

© Viage Partners 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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